Wesley’s Shoes

Sit and fit family shoe store serving customers since 1970.

Neighborhood: Hyde Park

Website: wesleyshoes.com

Facebook Pitching Videohttps://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1509431049265407&extid=agUHWdRimUTFqz7u

Youtube Pitching Videohttps://youtu.be/q8yZpn1_zPk

“So when most kids were watching cartoons on Saturday morning, I was working in the shoe store shifting shoe boxes, cleaning up and learning the business under my Dad. 2020 marks our 50th year in business. We are now the oldest Independent black owned shoe retailer in the USA. We were voted by the Industry Footwear News Insights as the #1 Independent Shoe Retailer in Illinois for 2019 and #13 in the USA!

We decided to focus on Hyde Park and buying The Shoe Corral from 2 Jewish brothers Joe Devine Harry in the early 80’s. I started working for Joe while I was attending the Univ. Of Illinois downtown campus. Joe introduced me to a different side of the shoe business. Our Roseland store was more trendy and moderately priced. In the 70’s we had platforms for men, Chuck Taylors in every color, Florsheim’s and more. Joe showed me the European comfort shoes and fashion shoe business. We attended trade shows together. He was grooming me to take over the Hyde Park store.

We had our struggles. Once it was known by the merchants in the Center that we were to buyout the a Devine brothers and takeover the lease, all hell started. The merchants were fearful of this Black family from Roseland coming into a Hyde Park. So fearful, they held an Emergency meeting with all the merchants of the Center at that time…Coop Grocery Store, Fannie Mae, Hallmark, Cohn& Stern, Woolworths, Flair Cleaners, Fritz women’s Clothing, Park Lane Hosiery and more. The plan was to stop us.”

– Bruce T. Wesley